Thursday, March 20, 2014

Ni Hao!

"Ni Hao" came the voice as I lifted my head to enter the lift.

I was just shooting off an apologetic message to the husband that I was ready to head home. Inside there was guilt, for not having kept dinner ready before heading out. Inside there was hunger, for I too had not eaten. Inside there was this rush to get home.

Outside could have been a wildest dream come true. But everything inside was replaced with one feeling "PANIC".

The "Ni Hao" had come from one of the 5 guys already in the lift. He had even made a bow. How cute I thought to myself.

Thoughts were cut short by "No, no, don't be shy" by the guy next to him. I was beginning to take in the scene. 5 guys in all, 3 to the right and 2 to the left of the lift. The entire middle space was taken by a trolley bag with its handle stretched out to its owner on the left.


All the 3 guys on the right pushed themselves to a corner and had made a tiny space for me to squeeze into. It was one of these guys who had voiced "Ni Hao". The guy to whom the bag belonged seemed to ignore me and it stood where it was.


I stood there tongue-tied.
"What does Ni Hao mean anyway? Does it mean hello?"
I thought of saying something quirky.
I thought of squeezing in.
I judged the space and felt it was too small for me to feel comfortable in.
I felt fear.
I thought of saying "Excuse me" but the words would not come out.
I said to myself "Be Brave".
I thought "Why can't that guy move the fucking bag?"
I inhaled the beer.

And thankfully the lift doors closed.

Another press of the lift calling button and up came an empty lift. Disappointment! Relief! Relief won over. Obviously I could do nothing else about it. I had maybe missed some fun.